An Infectious Disease

What is Tuberculosis? (TB)

  • Tuberculosis is an infectious disease that is bacterial, and caused by a bacteria that can live in any organ in your body, but mostly found in the lungs. Tuberculosis is commonly known as TB. The scientific name for tuberculosis is Mycobacterium Tuberculosis.

Tuberculosis - Transmission

  • Tuberculosis is contagious, and is transmitted through the air when the infected person coughs or sneezes. When that happens, and another person inhales the tiny particles of sputum, they also inhale the TB bacteria, but at first, it is not harmful.It is hard to get sick because the immune system kills them off very quickly, but not all the time can the immune kill them off.

  • There is no other way for a person to get TB, and there is no vector.

Tuberculosis - Symptoms

In the first stages, the following symptoms may occur:
  • high fever

  • night sweats

  • lack of appetite

  • weight loss
In the later stages, the following symptoms may occur:

  • chest pain
  • coughing with bloody sputum.

Tuberculosis - Treatment

  • A combination of antibiotics can be used for a few weeks. Then if the infected person is no longer experiencing any symptoms, they can return to their normal life.

Some antibiotics that can treat tuberculosis are:

  • Isoniazid
  • Rifampin
  • Pyrazinamide
  • Streptomycin
  • Ethambutol.
  • These combinations vary depending on the patient's needs.

Tuberculosis - Prevention

  • To prevent tuberculosis, anybody can get a regular skin testing. This test is done by putting a small amount of TB protein on the skin of your forearm. If you have been exposed to the TB bacteria, your skin will become red where the protein was put on. This method is very reliable.
  • There is a vaccine that is used to prevent tuberculosis called BCG, (Bacillus Calmette-Guérin) but is not used in the US, just developing/poor countries.
  • A new vaccine the prevent tuberculosis is called modified Vaccinia Ankara, which is made to work with BCG.

Tuberculosis - Incidence

  • Those who have active TB and can infect others only if it is in their lungs.
  • The people that are at higher risk of TB are mostly people over 65 years old and those who use alcohol and are homeless because the homeless normally do not have good health care or not any health care, and can not get the appropriate medication to prevent tuberculosis, and those who use alcohol have bad lungs already from smoking/drinking alcohol. Those who are elderly and live in a nursing home tend to come in close contact with others who may be infected.
  • Tuberculosis is most common in sub-saharan africa/developing countries.
  • People with the tuberculosis bacteria have a 5-10% chance of developing active tuberculosis.
  • 9 million adults, and half a million children develop active tuberculosis every year.

Tuberculosis - Prognosis

  • 1.5 million people die from tuberculosis each year.
  • Proper treatment can cure the person with tuberculosis, but not all people can afford this treatment, so those have a much higher risk of dying from tuberculosis.

Tuberculosis - Current Outbreak

  • In Curry County, New Mexico, over 100 individuals were exposed to and at risk to the tuberculosis bacteria between October and April of 2015.
  • Doctors and scientists are trying to figure out if any of the 100 individuals have developed active tuberculosis.
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Tuberculosis - Citations

  • Tesar, Jenny E., and Bryan H. Bunch. Diseases: Spider Bites - Zoonoses. Danbury, CT: Grolier, 2006. 81. Print.
  • "Tuberculosis." Tish Davidson, AM., Rebecca J. Frey, PhD., and Leslie Mertz, PhD. The Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. Ed. Jacqueline L. Longe. 5th ed. Detroit: Gale, 2015. 9 vols.
  • Gonzalez, Ellysa. "New Mexico taking precautions for tuberculosis outbreak." Lubbock Avalanche Journal (TX) 23 June 2015:Newspaper Source. Web. 1 Feb. 2016.